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Statement from Governor Patrick on the Tribal Gaming Compact Decision


Location: Boston, MA

The following is a statement from Governor Deval Patrick:

"Today's decision by the U.S. Department of Interior is deeply disappointing on a number of levels. For starters, we negotiated in good faith with the Tribe, and the carefully bargained Compact was extraordinarily fair to both sides. Its terms rightly recognized and respected the sovereign rights of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe while remaining consistent with the goals and principles of the Expanded Gaming Act -- namely bringing jobs and economic development to every region of the state. By rejecting the agreement on the grounds of the revenue share and our acceptance of the Tribe's request to separately negotiate its tribal hunting and fishing rights, Interior is substituting its judgment for the Tribe's. I believe Interior's approach is outdated and does not adequately take into account our unique circumstances here in Massachusetts.

With respect to the revenue share issue, our Compact reflects our Southcoast market reality. The market, not Interior, sets the value of gaming. Additionally, allowing the Tribe early entry into this market represents a meaningful concession on the Commonwealth's part. It presents an enormous economic benefit to the Tribe and justifies the proposed revenue sharing obligations in our agreement.

This is a setback on what has been a long journey, but we are not done. The Tribe has persevered before and it will again with the Commonwealth at its side. I commend Chairman Cedric Cromwell and Vice Chair Aaron Tobey for their passionate and able leadership of the Tribe. We remain partners.

The Compact calls for us to resume negotiations in the face of a federal disapproval and requires legislative approval of any renegotiated compact. Those conversations will begin in earnest as we work with our partners in the legislature to determine next steps and the Tribe's land in trust application continues to be reviewed by Interior. I remain committed to striking an appropriate balance which protects the best interests of the Commonwealth and the Tribe. I believe our Compact struck that balance. We will try to do so again."

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